Legendary R&B singer Will Downing has returned to music with an innovative approach to delivering his new album to the masses. Turning down several major deals, Downing opted to go independent to issue his new release via three closely released EPs: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Over a series of conversations, Will Downing discusses his new projects as well as his innovative approach to his career that has spanned the last 25 years.
Will Downing has been one of the more consistent R&B artists of the last 25 years. Since 1988, he has never let more than two years pass without releasing a project. Naturally, after 2010’s Love, Lust, & Lies: An Audio Novel, fans were expecting yet another full length release from Downing. Instead, the soul crooner opted to release a “musical trilogy.” “People listen to music now in 30 second intervals. They go to iTunes and listen and say, ‘I’m gonna buy this one, but not that one,’” Downing said. Realizing that the musical attention span of most fans had shortened, Downing came to a revelation. “It got me to thinking that maybe I was wasting too much music at a time.” He decided to break up his new album into three part installments, feeding fans new music four months at a time. “I’m giving everyone four songs, for four months, on three EPs.” After self releasing the first installment, Yesterday, in late 2011, Will partnered with indie R&B powerhouse label Purpose Music Group for digital distribution of Today, through NIA Distribution. ”I consider myself to be a flag holder for R&B music and when I find people who are as passionate as I am, I get excited about the possibilities of what a collaboration can bring. That’s why I hooked up with The Purpose Music Group.”
As forward-thinking as Will Downing is with the release of his new project, he actually states that this new venture takes him back to the earlier days of his music career where he had to be more hands-on in all aspects. “I definitely have more respect for the promotion men who handled my records early on.” Wearing the hats of artist, label boss, and promoter is not something he takes lightly, though it “makes it fun” for him. It is almost a given that this approach to delivering his albums will be replicated by new and established artists alike. For Will Downing, he will continue to be an innovator in black music just as he has been yesterday, today, and tomorrow.